America As A Safe Haven For The Stricken And Oppressed

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The seeds of modern day North America were sowed in the early 17th century, when Europeans, in the face of persecution, refused to abandon their religious freedom and fled to the United States in search of equality (“America as a Religious Refuge”). With these individuals arrived the beginning of the so-called American Dream: the idea that America is a safe-haven for the stricken and oppressed, that every American should have equal opportunity and ample support to succeed regardless of religious beliefs or social status (“What is the American Dream?”). These ideas were codified in 1776, with the declaration of America as a sovereign nation. The Founding Fathers boasted of a country in which every man was undeniably subjected to “life,…show more content…
She greeted immigrants as they first approached Ellis Island, an awe-striking, hope-infusing monument engraved with the words, “send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me / I lift my lamp beside the golden door” ("Lazarus 's Poem"). Now in the 21st century, the definition of the American Dream has remained relatively stagnant, as citizens, foreigners, and refugees alike still expect liberté, égalité, and fraternité from the leading nation. However, some may argue that this view of America’s generous and supportive personality is delusional. Robert Galbraith chooses to spotlight the new era of American disregard for others with his two photographs American Poverty and an untitled work that shows a homeless man hauling his possessions in a shopping cart in a rich suburb of San Francisco. In American Poverty, an impoverished man stands in the foreground, carrying a small American flag and a Starbucks cup, presumably to collect money in. The man seems to be the center of a magnetic field, repulsing everyone away, as there’s no visible body within a 5 feet radius of him. His face is furrowed and his eyes face not the photographer, nor the people walking by, but the ground, as if he is embarrassed, abandoned, and alone in his situation – in fact, the only support he seems to be getting is from the pole that he’s using as back support. The Starbucks cup and the flag that he totes in his hands are two of the most
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